Congratulations to Valentina Shevchenko, IWGA Athlete of the Month for May 2014. The Muaythai fighter from Peru won the gold medal (weight class 60 kg) at the IFMA World Championships Malaysia 2014.
It was her eighth title since 2002, when the 26-year-old athlete won her first World Championship final. Born in Russia, “Bullet” (her nickname) has been living in Peru since 2008. In her new home country she has been appointed as a Sport Is Your Gang ambassador (SIYG). In this role she works with kids from the ghetto in one of the SIYG projects in Peru and uses Muaythai as a tool to teach boys and girls self-respect and respect for others. She is convinced that forming characters by working on endurance and discipline leads to a better path through life.
Her sister Antonina Shevchenko, who also lives in Peru, is a three-time World IFMA Muaythai Champion (2003, 2011, 2014). “My mother Elena has the third Dan, black belt of Taekwondo, and she is the President of the Muaythai Federation of Kyrgyzstan. My elder sister, Antonina followed her example. And I did, too” said Valentina Shevchenko, explaining why she has been practicing Muaythai since she was five years old.
Asked what fascinates her about Muaythai,“Bullet” answers: “It is a beautiful kind of martial art, and means much more than just a fight between two athletes in a ring. There are so many aspects like the history and the culture which are part of our sport.” Her advice to kids starting to practice Muaythai (and the art of living): “Not to be afraid of defeats which are sometimes inevitable.”